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Editor's Blog

Brad Arnold and Ben Goertzel
May 21, 2013

Cold fusion, or Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) as many prefer to call it, has a complex and checkered history; and many are still skeptical it is a real phenomenon.  But as Beaudette summarized in his excellent book Excess Heat, the data in favor of the existence of LENR has increased year after year over the last decades.   The nature of the phenomenon remains poorly understood -- and the success of LENR experiments can be frustratingly dependent on laboratory conditions and purity of materials. But still, it seems increasingly clear there is something important here.

One of the more controversial LENR approaches has been Andrea Rossi's E-Cat system,  a device said to work by infusing heated hydrogen into nickel, transmuting it into copper and producing heat in the process.   Tests of the E-Cat have generated various controversies in the past (e.g. related to the machine being covered up during testing), and the LENR community has been eager for independent third-party testing of the ysystem.

Such a third party test has now been reported, in a paper dryly titled “Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder”.

In short, “the results obtained indicate that energy was produced in decidedly higher quantities than what may be gained from any conventional source.”

“Data were collected in two experimental runs lasting 96 and 116 hours, respectively,” with the first experiment demonstrating a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of almost 6, and a energy density estimated at five orders of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources.   This means an energy production (per liter) one order of magnitude higher than a conventional source.
More replications will be valuable of course, and it would be better to more thoroughly understand the underlying physics.  But this is a feather in the cap of Rossi's E-Cat approach, and preliminarily promising for the LENR field and its practical applications.

If you're curious for more: This Forbes blog post presents a few more details on the replication, and the comments at the end of that post elaborate some of the controversy regarding Rossi.


    "Over 2 decades with over 100 experiments worldwide indicate LENR is real, much greater than chemical..." --Dennis M. Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center

    "Total replacement of fossil fuels for everything but synthetic organic chemistry." --Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA

    Amazing Cold Fusion I have waiting to hear of the progress from this scientist Rossi looks like it has become a reality !

    Cold fusion will now rapidly deploy as the Italian tide lifts all boats in the field. The impact on the oil industry will be $4 Trillion in stranded asset risk, as reported this spring by the London School of Economics. Here is a link to the stranded asset story http://goo.gl/A7UgP

    This new source of emission free energy can prevent more CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. But we still have the crisis of the nearly trillion tonnes of fossil CO2 already emitted that is changing climate and destroying ecosystems, especially the ocean plankton pastures.

    But there is a solution that can replenish and restore the ocean pastures and in doing so convert billions of tonnes of CO2 into ocean life itself at the cost of mere millions. Like cold fusion the proof has been demonstrated and is ready for large scale deployment.

    Perhaps just in time these twin scientific discoveries have been transformed into technologies that will reverse the harm we have done in our pell mell burning of fossil fuels.

    It’s time for people to call on government and industry to save the world, and make a little money on the side…. Not the other way around! http://russgeorge.net

    It is my understanding that literally anyone can submit a text to the Cornell archive site - there is *no* validation or review of the texts submitted other than formal/formatting.

    It is also my understanding that the main writer of this (so called) "independent 3rd party test" is Giuseppe Levi from Bologna University, which is a "good old friend of Rossi".

    Makes me wonder why such an alleged "independent" test is conducted by someone who is already involved with Rossi (didn't Levi also conduct those other tests?), as opposed to a real, independent scientist/party - and furthermore from a credible source where claims and papers are validated/peer reviewed.

    I myself could possibly submit a made-up article about "free energy" and upload it to the archive site...and then make it *appear* as if it is a legit paper from "Cornell University".

    If anything, to me this looks like a deliberate attempt to make this paper look legit by how it is submitted to the site and then referred to on places on the web as being a scientific paper coming from a reputable source.

    It's really amazing that in looking back from what I read/heard about Rossi and the e-cat, any action done by Rossi *somehow* has this shady component to it. Now...maybe you should start wondering why....

    We would all love for this to be real, but unfortunately, it's pretty clearly not, and no non-peer reviewed paper is going to change that. There's just no way for nickle and hydrogen to fuse to make copper; that's not even a reaction that happens in the sun itself, let alone in Earth temperatures. They claim they have some kind of secret "catalyst" that makes it happen, but that doesn't make sense either.

      Actually... yes it does. It does not happen under normal conditions yes, but it does happen in fission reactions. How do you think the man-made elements were created on the periodic table? Even in LENR it has the potential to happen, but I do share the same reservations as to why this hasn't been peer reviewed.

    @yosarian Muon catalyzed fusion can use hydrogen and nickel, has been known of since the 1950's (and was called 'cold fusion') and is similar to the Widom Larsen theory.

    So your statement is simply totally wrong.

    I found the title of this misleading. Even Rossi has stepped back from calling the device a "cold fusion reactor." According to the third party confirmation, all they found was what they expected to find: anomalous heat production. There's no indication of fusion occurring, nor did the laboratory setup even attempt to examine any possible fusion products.

    While there's absolutely no question (so long as the third-party numbers are accurate) that Rossi's device has a much higher power density than any other chemical reaction, the leap to "cold fusion" is still too large a leap to make. I'm not dismissing the possibility, but crack open the reactor and show us what's going on. At the very least, show some neutron counts.

      In theory, what's going on is that anomalous energy is being produced due to the exothermic properties of nuclear fusion occurring in the lattice (when galvanic heating is ruled out). You can rule out chemical reactions fairly quickly because the reaction can be initiated a seemingly infinite number of times, whereas in chemical reactions once they start they go to fruition generally.

      This is all theoretical, even this device hasn't been ACTUALLY validated. Peer reviews, reproduction, etc. are all required several times over before we can even really get excited about this.

      However, I can understand his trepadation. Patents for cold fusion are all but laughed out of the offices in virtually any country. He doesn't want to release his secrets without any protection to his property. Heck, even if he wants to save the world with this, he also wants to make the years of R&D worth his time and sacrifice. Nobody does anything for free, and he (theoretically) holds a game-changing product that could impact the world several times over. Were he to release his secrets without a patent, well basically he could kiss all his work goodbye.

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